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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 20, 2007
    Posts
    814

    Default Can I just ask....

    ok NOT wanting to start a trainwreck. This is a LEGITIMATE question that I can't answer. Please let's not turn this into a warzone. Please?

    So for anyone that has been following my other post on Off Course about my horse's unhappiness in dressageland, you also are aware he is for sale. Tentatively. Since he is for sale (remember, tentatively!) I have sort of given up on trying to really school him with a purpose, and decided today we'd meander around the farm and maybe *gasp* hack the loop around the property. Since I am in dressage tack (hunter princess isn't quite comfortable in it yet) and worried about the potential for him to turn me into a projectile (pony also isn't a great hacker) I decided to play safe, spray my boots with stick spray and put on draw reins in case we need an e-brake.

    How odd. Horse was a GEM. I did a very short warm up in the ring to ensure today wasn't an energetic day, and he was so soft and lovely with the draws on. Here's the disclaimer: they were LOOSE. I mean, loose....flapping in the wind loose. I have ridden with draw reins before and know how to use them, and they were just there as a safety measure today. There was no contact on them at all, and they kind of just hung there while we had a lovely quick boot around, and then a lovely short hack (not a foot put wrong yay! )

    My question: WHY was he so good? He was forward, stretchy, and relaxed. More so than usual. And after several days off...I just don't understand this odd phenomena! I'm going to ride without them tomorrow and see if it's a one off, or what. I just couldn't believe how good he felt!

    Is there an actual explanation for this?!

    Again, this was a one off for safety reasons and NOT going to be a cure or fix or crutch. First hack of the season, and I wanted to live through it. Just looking for any sort of explanation as to why this happened!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2006
    Posts
    3,505

    Default

    Relaxed plus confident = great seat

    Open hips with your hands probably more forward because you are less worried about the high head or tension

    What level are you at? Were you asking for collection already?

    If it was just the basic self carriage then really this is your answer... Your seat might be closed and defaulting to a defensive posture over your previous problems.
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2011
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    5,312

    Default

    I think it was psychological for both you and your horse. You gave up fighting him with dressage and you relaxed and he relaxed. I saw your other thread and wanted to say something to this effect, but I didn't want to post to interfere, but since you're asking;

    1. Are you only doing dressage with your horse?
    2. Have you considered training in many vocations? I hope to try some working equitation and competitive trail with Fella as well as dressage.
    3. What do you and your horse do to relax?
    4. Do you ever just ride for fun?

    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep. 26, 2010
    Posts
    5,405

    Default

    People need mental and physical breaks and a variety of activities to be healthy and happy. I don't think we should expect any different from our equines.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2000
    Location
    Proud owner of one Lunar acre! (Campanus Crater, The Moon)
    Posts
    14,174

    Default

    I agree that it was probably because you were relaxed and trusting with your extra brake (in case you needed it) and because you were not focused on MAKING him do something.

    You need to up your confidence and also allow for mistakes and break away from heavy training (to him) sometimes. Just be relaxed and be happy to be on him. It sounds like that's how you're riding when you have the draw reins on and are not focused on doing so much.
    "Relinquish your whip!!"



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar. 28, 2006
    Posts
    1,915

    Default

    He may also have been a lot more supple!
    "When you think you don't need a coach ...then you're in trouble" Don Imus 2012



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 28, 2007
    Location
    Triangle Area, NC
    Posts
    6,723

    Default

    You rode the horse, not the plan ;-)
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec. 7, 2001
    Location
    Cullowhere?, NC
    Posts
    8,666

    Default

    "... they were loose ... "

    Are you sure you aren't mistaking a death grip for contact in your usual riding? I have one who won't go anywhere near sliding side reins simply because they put too much weight on his mouth. When I use side reins, I use a pair of leg straps off of a blanket, because they're light in weight and have some give and don't flop around. This horse has taught me what contact is, and how light it can be. I now understand contact by the way the horse is using his body, not by what I feel in my hands. If I try to take a feel before the horse is ready, he will wad up, get tense, flip his head, etc. If I ride him to the contact, concentrate on his balance, instead of "taking" contact, he's lovely.

    (disclaimer--I did not go back and read your original thread, so this may be totally irrelevant, but the comment about the loose draw reins made me wonder. I also agree with what others have said about this possibly being a confidence issue)
    "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

    Spay and neuter. Please.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep. 11, 2011
    Posts
    1,447

    Default

    I've had this happen a lot-- the days I just ride and see what I get with no plan I have the BEST rides. I think I over-try generally and this makes me tense despite my not being aware of being tense.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    May. 6, 2011
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    36

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
    You rode the horse, not the plan ;-)
    Love this.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    May. 14, 2009
    Posts
    628

    Default

    Without having read any of the other thread.
    Sounds like you've been riding his head. Trying to/worrying about a frame.
    The draw reins slide, not allowing you to be stiff/unforgiving w/ your shoulders,elbows, wrists.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov. 8, 2011
    Posts
    148

    Default

    There was no pressure! You've made the decision to take the pressure off your self and the horse.

    Similarly, I had a horse that I was working on tempes with. One change - easy. Start doing 6's, or 5's - disaster.

    This horse was also for sale. A family came to try him, and he was sold, but going to stay in training with me until the family returned home from a vacation a few weeks later. I put the check in the bank, and wouldn't you know it, the next day: 4's, 3's, 2's.........

    The pressure was off to get them, since the money was in the bank!



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec. 9, 2011
    Posts
    468

    Default

    I think he knows he's on the bubble and decided he'd better clean up his act!



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun. 30, 2011
    Posts
    1,188

    Default

    The training goes both ways.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul. 11, 2006
    Posts
    1,395

    Default

    Most of the time when a horse is ridden, especially under dressage instruction, the horse is asked to move in a frame, rather than from the rider's seat. What this means is that the horse's shoulders are restricted, much as yours would be if you were forced to run with your arms plastered to your sides. It is much easier to become unbalanced that way. With your loose reins, you were not restricting the horse's shoulders, thereby removing the threat of him becoming unbalanced and afraid that he might fall down.

    Sometimes, when the reins are restricted, or the rider is aggessive enough within that restriction, you can sort of muddle through, though the horse will be labeled hot and explosive in the process. Yes, you can have a hot, explosive horse, but restriction into a frame creates an even greater potential for this.

    You can take draw-reins, or a martingale, or a curb bit...with or without a double bridle that can afford greater ability of the rider to force the horse to maintain its unbalanced state over long periods of time...hence greater leg injury risk over time as well. I do understand your use of a martingale for the instance you used it. I have done so myself when safety becomes more necessary...just to have a little something for an unplanned event. I always start a youngster with a martingale in place. Most people do not use them, however, for this, but use the leverage of the martingale or other apparatii as a framing aid.

    Too bad you do not have someone who can teach you how to train correct contact, which would then allow your horse to perform like this all the time...even without the martingale.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb. 8, 2002
    Posts
    1,197

    Default

    I don't think it had anything to do with the tack, and I agree with Petstorejunkie...

    Too often, the rider's effort or desire interfere with their ability to feel and connect with the horse. This ends up producing sour horses and riders quite frequently. As an instructor, I deal with this type of issue on a regular basis, but it can be HARD to convince a rider that they need to be "less serious". Taking the pressure off can make all the difference.

    I know a lot of people that became suddenly more successfull with their horses as soon as they decided to sell.

    It's all between the rider's ears, usually.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep. 15, 2008
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    1,470

    Default

    I had a horse that rode way better outside. In the indoor we could just never get it right, he was always tense and choppy and dragging me around. Outside he was a gem, moved nice and free, and was so soft on the bit. I think he just preferred outside.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2003
    Posts
    18,472

    Default

    Some horses LOVE draw reins.

    Gasp! Yes, I said that

    IME a horse who loves them wants the bit to be really, really still and stable. So maybe there is something to be learned here about your horse, OP.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec. 20, 2007
    Posts
    814

    Default

    Firstly, I am SO GLAD this didn't open up a can of worms!

    TO try and answer some of the questions; I am just starting into dressage after being in the hunter ring for the past 10+ years (10 years with this horse alone) I do not jump due to a back injury, and have been focusing on dressage (basic stuff, training level) for the past year. The horse has fought every inch of the way, and dislikes pretty much every part of what we've been doing. He hates having someone sitting on his back, he hates the contact (I have been working with several very BNTs, who I respect immensely) and even they have commented at how unhappy the horse is in this new job. I have been working on contact for months now, and have gone from too soft and too quick to give away the contact to being better able to keep the contact. I have noticed a difference in my horse, he's much quicker to "seek" it out and feels so much more "there" in my hands...rather than there...not there...there...not there as we bounced off each other I am not a "death gripper" by nature, I'm the opposite: quick to throw the contact away and give the reins...I have horribly soft hands

    He LOVES to jump, and if I ride him like a hunter, we have fabulous, enjoyable rides. I did find out (through my current trainer) that this horse does like a nice happy mouth mullen mouth snaffle and has been so much quieter in one - he does seem to like the very quiet and still bit.

    I was hoping to "convert" him as I really wanted to keep him, and thought this could just be another chapter for us. Not so much.I have come to the realization that this isn't going to work (hence the easy ride the other day) He does not hack well, is spooky, hates bugs, jigs, and generally is pretty miserable, either alone or with others. I rarely (if ever) try to hack him now, as neither of us seem to have any fun or find it very relaxing, so it's hard to find a "new career" for him at 15 years of age.

    I think I'm going to try the draws again, and go for a "real ride" to see what happens. Maybe he likes them....?



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr. 1, 2003
    Location
    Cocoa, Fla
    Posts
    4,261

    Default

    My mare is easier to get round and thru with draw reins or double - it's simply the weight of the reins.

    Could that be the answer? I rarely do more than lightly use the draw reins in the very beginning of the ride, making certain I am keeping her through with my seat. Later in the ride (usually about 10 minutes into ride) she no longer needs them.

    In double I don't touch the curb rein - I don't need to. The pure act of riding her in 2 bits handles the extra "push" she needs at the start of the ride.

    If I ride without draw reins for 1 day I'm fine, 2 days she gets harder to "get together" so it takes longer to get her through before we can begin the real work.

    So I ride with the draw reins most of the time. I never rode with them until I started riding thrid level and trainer felt I had enough of an independent seat and great "feeling" in my hands/arms to handle draw reins - then she taught me the correct way to put them on and use them. (I rode with double reins as a kid when using a pelhem on my hunter.) Using them saves me wasting 30 minutes of my ride time in warm-up, now lengthy warm-ups are only after shes had 2 days off (or more) in a row.
    Sandy in Fla.



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